Even MORE Halloween news

After it was announced recently that Halloween (2018) is getting not one, but TWO sequels, “Halloween Kills” and “Halloween Ends,” more news has been trickling out. We already know that Jamie Lee Curtis will reprise her iconic role as Laurie Strode. Now it’s been reported that the original Shape, Nick Castle, will  also return. Castle was in a brief scene in the last film, but an important one, the moment when Strode first sees Myers, thus confirming her worst fears that he’s still alive. Additionally, it’s been reported that James Jude Courtney will return as the Shape, most likely for the duration of both films. This is positive news, as fans seemed to have enjoyed his performance.

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Nick Castle playing the Shape again in Halloween 2018

Even more interesting are the rumblings that the character of Tommy Doyle will return for “Halloween Kills.” Doyle was the little boy that Strode babysat in the first film. He returned as an adult in Halloween 6, played by Paul Rudd, but since Halloween 2018 ignores all of the other films, other than the original, it’s best to forget that movie.

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Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Tommy (Brian Andrews)

If Tommy Doyle is being written into the script, it raises a lot of questions.

  • How is this narrative actually going to work? Ignoring all of the sequels, and focusing on this timeline, it has to be acknowledged that Laurie and Tommy have not seen each other in over 40 years. How and why would they actually reconnect?
  • Will their meeting be organic? Let’s hope David Gordon Green and his screenwriting team don’t just thrust this character into the script for the sake of merely adding him and trying to please fans.
  • Will Tommy’s story focus on trauma? Halloween 2018 was about Laurie’s trauma and confronting/overcoming her past. Is it possible that a similar theme will be explored with Tommy’s character? How did that night in 1978 affect him?
  • Will Lindsey show up? Whatever happened to the other kid that Laurie babysat that same night, Lindsey, the one who had a crush on Tommy? Is she going to make an appearance?
  • Who will actually play Tommy? If the character is indeed part of the next chapter, who’s going to be cast? A few articles noted that Paul Rudd was approached but declined, due to a conflicting filming schedule.  We’ll have to wait and see.

Feel free to share your thoughts about the rumors that Tommy Doyle may in fact be part of the next Halloween sequel. How/why could it possibly work?

 

Some Questions Regarding Those Halloween Sequels

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Since Blumhouse’s reboot of Halloween earned over $250 million at the box office last year, it’s no surprise that the production company is bringing Michael back to the big screen for not one but TWO sequels.It was announced last week that Halloween Kills will be released in 2020 and Halloween Ends will be released in 2021. Jamie Lee Curtis will reprise her role as Laurie Strode, and writers Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, who also directed Halloween 2018, are also returning.  John Carpenter is staying involved, too, most likely to score both films.

The world could always use a little more Michael Myers, but there are some serious questions to ponder in the meantime:

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  • How is Michael still alive? Okay, okay, I know that Michael has survived many times before. Heck, at the end of the first film, he’s shot by Dr. Loomis before falling off of a balcony. Cue the famous end shot where he’s GONE. That said, Halloween 2018,  like the original, made Michael fairly human again. The last time we saw him, he was engulfed in flames in the Strode basement.

 

  • How does Michael reconnect with the Strodes? Like the original film, Halloween 2018 made it clear that Michael has no specific connection to Laurie. He is merely a ubiquitous presence and agent of evil. Laurie just happened to cross his path in 1978 and became an iconic Final Girl. The new film ignores all the sequels, especially Halloween II, that made them brother and sister. So in that regard, Michael really has no need to go after her or her daughter and granddaughter who featured prominently in the last film. It is possible and maybe likely that she hunts him, since that’s the role she assumed in the last film.

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  • What role will the other Strode women play? We know Jamie Lee Curtis is coming back, but what about Judy Greer, who played Laurie’s daughter, Karen, and Andi Matichak who played granddaughter Allyson? These three together on screen, especially in the closing 20 minutes, were a real highlight of the last film and there is SO much untapped story potential there. The ending of the film was poignant in so many ways. It featured the ladies working together to defeat the boogeyman, but it also had an interesting and ambiguous ending, featuring the women riding in the back of a vehicle, blood-soaked, after defeating Michael, with Allyson clenching the butcher knife. The last shot is a nice reference to both The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween 4, but that’s for another day. Let’s hope all three ladies will be together again to kick ass.

 

  • Will the sequels resonate? Halloween 2018 is really Laurie Stode’s story and how she’s processed what happened to her 40 years earlier. The film is rooted in trauma. What happens to the Final Girl after all of her friends are dead? The last film hit at the right time during the #MeToo Movement and only a few short months after the powerful testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during the tumultuous Kavanaugh hearings. Will the sequels also resonate? We’ll have to see. Sometimes, headlines make a film all the more powerful.

 

  • Who is going to play Michael/The Shape? The original Shape, Nick Castle, returned to the role just for a scene or two in 2018, but the Shape was mostly played by James Jude Courtney. No word yet on whether or not he’s returning.

 

Blumhouse is taking a risk launching two Halloween sequels, while also rebooting the Universal Monsters, with the first being an updated version of The Invisible Man. Halloween 2018 proved, however, that these iconic horror figures can still bring in the big bucks. Feel free to share your thoughts on the Halloween sequels and where you’d like the franchise to go from here.

 

 

 

Some Poetry for Halloween

Months ago, I announced that Moon Tide Press was putting out an anthology of poems inspired by horror films. Well, the anthology is out! It features 66 poets and has wicked cool cover art by Leslie White.

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If you’re interested in ordering a copy, you can do so through Moon Tide’s website here, or through Amazon here.

I have three pieces in the anthology, and as a little preview, here is one of the poems:

Imagining One More Romero Movie

 

I’d like to see Romero’s take on this moment,

a time as uncanny as the dead rising,

groaning, and slow-walking towards a meal.

The elite already live in towers,

like in Land of the Dead.

The president has a tower in NYC,

barricaded by police in all-black riot gear,

like the beginning of a movie

where everything is about to go wrong.

The working-class hustle below,

their hands hard and calloused, their clothes

rife with the smell of gasoline, oil, or dirt.

Sometimes, they crane their necks, stare

at those towers, maybe to imagine a gold nameplate,

a desk, leather chair, and air-conditioned office.

 

If Romero directed one more sequel,

I wonder where he’d place the survivors.

Shopping malls are too 1980s, but maybe Starbucks,

staring at their smartphones, plugging in

before the dead bust down the doors,

rip out espresso machines, gnaw on flesh,

or maybe he’d have a horde overtake DC,

while a few remaining politicians and lobbyists

flee down K Street under a harvest moon,

until the working-class, turned, drop the gas pumps,

hammers, or call center headsets and devour the living, fed up

with slumping and staggering from job to job.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Trailer #2

With a little over a month until its release, David Gordon Green’s Halloween has a brand new trailer, featuring a hulking, brutal Michael Myers and a well-prepared Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
You can watch the new trailer by clicking here.
I first noticed the number of scenes that parallel scenes from the original film. For instance, in the first few seconds, we see that Michael Myers has returned to Haddonfield after escaping prison. He bumps into a trick-or-treater who is daunted by his size and shape, similar to the scene in the original Halloween when Tommy Doyle bumps into Michael and is taken aback. This happens early in the film, shortly after Michael escapes from the insane asylum and ends up in Haddonfield after stealing a car.
Another scene echoes a shot in the first film when Laurie Strode is babysitting and sees Michael standing in the yard behind sheets billowing on a laundry line. There is a similar scene in this new trailer, though it’s unclear whose house it is.
For the most part, this second trailer highlights Laurie Strode, specifically her ability to take charge. She screams at the costumed children and their parents to get off the streets and go home. In another scene, we see what I think is her house, fitted with flood lights and other high-wire alert systems. Clearly, she’s been planning for Michael’s return for decades. Additionally, the new trailer features Laurie’s voice-over. It’s probably safe to assume that the film will mostly focus on Laurie and Michael, as well as Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter. This is underscored by the new poster unveiled at the beginning of this month, featuring Michael and Laurie’s faces.
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Finally, director David Gordon Green mentioned in this interview with Bloody Disgusting  that there is a continuous shot fairly early in the film that is supposed to be quite brutal. I am guessing that scene is featured in the trailer, after the costumed child bumps into Michael and the boogeyman then picks up a hammer and enters the houses of random neighbors for a killing spree. It’s in that same continuous shot that he trades the hammer for his trademark butcher knife.
Overall, the trailer has me even more excited for the film. If you have any comments or thoughts about the trailer, feel free to drop a line.

Some Thoughts on The Halloween Trailer

For horror fans, today’s the day. The new Halloween trailer has dropped.

There is quite a bit to digest in this nearly three minute trailer, but here are some of my general thoughts.

  • Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a badass. Much of the trailer shows Laurie Strode ready and eager to confront Michael Myers after her first encounter with him 40 years ago. She fires shotguns. She secures the house. She says, “I’ve been waiting for him.”‘
  • The film ignores all of the other Halloween movies, other than the original. This film is sort of a soft reboot, and it’s already been reported that it will be a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 film. At one point, a friend of Laurie’s granddaughter asks, “Wasn’t it her brother who murdered all of those babysitters?” The granddaughter counters, “No, that was something people made up.” So, there you have it. This film ignores the story-lines from all of the sequels, even the brother/sister story first introduced in Halloween II.
  • John Carpenter’s name is very present in the marketing. Early in the trailer, it is noted that the film was produced by John Carpenter. He also handled the score. It is likely they will continue to push and market his return to the franchise.
  • Several nods to the original. From the mental asylum story-line, to the scar on Laurie’s arm, to the closet scene at the end of the trailer, it is clear that this film will have  several nods to the original film.
  • Michael looks aged… but menacing. Just look at that mask! It is worn and tells its own story. Michael, meanwhile, looks hulking and menacing in every scene. It should be noted that Nick Castle, who played the original shape, has returned for this film.
  • Women, Laurie will face off with Michael again, but it’s clear her legacy/the plot of the first film will have a major impact on her daughter and granddaughter. At one point, her granddaughter says, “Everyone in my family turns into a nutcase during this time of year.” I hope this idea is explored, and I hope the other Strode women go toe to toe with the boogeyman.

So, there you have it. Our first glimpse at the new Halloween film is here. I am curious to what others think and what observations they may have. What are you expecting and hoping for with this film?

Halloween 2018 (What We Know So Far)

Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated horror films of 2018 is Halloween. Instead of another unnecessary sequel, Halloween 2018 is going to follow only John Carpenter’s original film, thus wiping the universe clean and placing us back to the beginning. With John Carpenter returning as executive producer and with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to play Laurie Strode 40 years after the original, there is reason to be excited. So far, some minor details about the film have leaked, after  Jamie Lee Curtis introduced the first trailer at CinemaCon in Las Vegas a few days ago. Based on reporting, the trailer begins with a true crime documentary team investigating Michael Myers’ murders from the first film. The investigators visit Myers, who’s been held in a facility for years; obviously, something goes wrong and Myers returns to Haddonfield. Curtis has said  that this time, Laurie Strode is ready for Michael, meaning she has stockpiled guns for the day he returns. This is quite a contrast to the 1978 Laurie Strode, who was a quiet, bookish teenager who outlived her friends by following the typical tropes of final girls in slasher films (innocence, being a virgin, etc). Seeing a more confident version of the character has peeked my interest as much as the description of the trailer.

It has also been reported that Carpenter will score the film, and Laurie’s daughter will be played by Judy Greer. Her granddaughter will be played by Andi Maticha. So far it is unclear what role they will play in the film, but let’s hope that the plot centers around the Strode family, specifically each generation of women, facing off against the Boogeyman.

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There is much to be said about the first poster of the film, too. It clearly shows a mask that is aged, perhaps one that Michael has worn while rotting away in a facility years after the first film. The mask is dominant on the poster, which may indicate that the film intends to make Michael the ever-present force that he was in Carpenter’s original story, a type of evil that can be present anywhere at anytime, behind a bush, in a yard, in a house. That is what truly made him the Boogeyman in the first place. Lastly, the text at the bottom of the poster somewhat reassembles the text from the first film, which is another indication that this film intends to have more in common with the original than the many sequels.

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Halloween is slated to be released on Oct. 19. It will be directed by David Gordon Green.

 

About The Thing/Body Horror

I’ve had John Carpenter on my mind a lot lately, maybe because he’s returning to the Halloween universe he created nearly 30 year ago to produce another Halloween film that will star Jamie Lee Curtis and ignore all of the sequels that followed the original film.  It will be just Jamie and Michael, reunited at last, no bizarre stories about Michael Myers’ bloodline, or his cult, or those awful Rob Zombie remakes that tried to give a backstory that we didn’t need.

Michael Myers is so effective in that first film because he literally could be anyone, and Haddonfield could be any tree-lined suburbia. There is one brief scene in the original film where Michael takes off his mask, after Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee) stabs him with a clothes hanger. When he unmasks, he looks rather…normal.  The boogeyman isn’t some supernatural entity, and the only thing thing that’s uncanny about him is the fact he gets up after Laurie Strode thinks she’s defeated him, and he gets up a second time after Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) shoots him off a balcony.

As much as I love Halloween and will always have a soft spot for Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, I’ve been more intrigued lately by Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing. On a few levels, I find it to be a more interesting film. It has stunning, guttural visual effects that still hold up, for one, but lately, I’ve been more intrigued by the idea of body horror. Few films represent that better than The Thing and the idea that the monster could be inside everyone and will spread from person to person, host to host. On a deeper level, the film was a perfect metaphor for the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s,  and today, in a very divided America, the sweeping paranoia/don’t trust thy neighbor arc  feel even more relevant.  For anyone that ever felt different, off, or an outsider, The Thing is the perfect body horror film. Anyone that appears slightly unusual is tied to the chair, blood tested, and blowtorched if the monster is inside of them.

A few years ago, there was  remake of The Thing that I didn’t bother to see. For me, Carpenter’s remake of the 1950s The Thing from Outerspace holds up too well, especially the non-CGI effects, the pulsating soundtrack, and the acting. If the new Halloween is indeed going to  follow the original film and no sequels, then there is more story to tell. I don’t think that is true about The Thing, despite its ambiguous ending.

In a tribute to the film, here is a poem I wrote about the body horror idea that  Rockvale Review recently published. I also have an essay coming out about the film in 2018 in the anthology My Body, My Words (Big Table Publishing). Not all of Carpenter’s films have aged well, but The Thing certainly has.